“In The Girl in the Flammable Skirt Aimee Bender has created a world where nothing is quite as it seems. From a man suffering from reverse evolution to a lonely wife who waits for her husband to return from war; to a small town where one girl has a hand made of fire and the other has a hand made of ice. These stories of men and women whose lives are shaped and sometimes twisted by the power of extraordinary desires take us to a place far beyond the imagination.”
I have to admit that to post this review I had to add a new category of ‘Short Stories’ to my review subject categories. I’ve never been a massive fan of them, but I absolutely loved The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake so I was keen to try this book. And I’m very glad I did, for inside was a highly imaginative literary feast, Atwoodian in style (Margaret is my favourite author, so this comparison is very high praise coming from myself).
These tales are haunting and beautiful, disjointed and quirky, and each scratches delicately at the surface, hinting at deeper emotions and meanings, making a contemplative and reflective read for the peruser. From a woman who gives birth to her mother, a stolen ring that turns salt bood-red and an imp who romances a mermaid, Aimee Bender’s stories are facets of an ever-changing jewel. My favourites (I have to list) are ‘The Healer’, ‘The Ring’ and ‘Quiet Please’ – though I was hard pushed to highlight them, such was the calibre of this collection. I know I’ll return to this book time and again, and find something new to take away from these stories each time.
Many thanks to Windmill Books for the review copy.